William Tyler plays instrumental set at Espresso News

Ryan Morris

Guitarist William Tyler played an hour-long, purely instrumental set Friday at Espresso News to a modest crowd.

Armed with only a few electric guitars, one acoustic guitar, an amplifier and a set of pedals, Tyler performed selections from his two solo albums, 2010’s “Behold the Spirit” and “Impossible Truth,” which was released in March.

“Truth” is Tyler’s first album with independent label Merge Records, and is a self-described “concept album about the end of the world, and a concept album about nostalgia, in a way.”

Tyler’s music is built from finger-picked guitar figures, reminiscent of instrumental guitarists such as John Fahey mixed with “folk music vibes,” Tyler said.

“It’s all about sort of capturing the environment around you,” he said before the show in the downtown coffee shop.

Much of Tyler’s style stems from a set of long, acrylic fingernails on his right hand, which aid him in playing complex, fast moving melodies without a pick.

“I never could get used to using a finger pick,” Tyler said. “So I learned about using these fingernails from a buddy of mine.”

Tyler began his set with songs on electric guitars from his record “Impossible Truth” before closing the set with several acoustic songs.

In between songs, Tyler would elaborate on the stories or situations that led to the creation of his songs.

Fresh from a performance at the third annual Phuzz Phest in Winston-Salem, the show was Tyler’s first in Boone.

“This place is great,” Tyler said. “I’ve only ever passed through here, but the atmosphere is beautiful.”

Story: COLIN MOORE, A&E Reporter